This is part of a 7-day series on Jonah in the Lent 2016 reading plan.
My Dad raised me on a diet of the King James Version of the Bible and classic westerns. Sure, there are moments when those two approaches to living collide, but on the whole I’m grateful for that combination. One of the convergent points between the two is confession (KJV) or being man enough to ‘fess up when you break the code (westerns).
The season of Lent is one of introspection, looking at your life—not your wife’s or your neighbor’s, but yours and yours alone for places where sin is lurking. This is not a comfortable practice, and that’s exactly why many men don’t do it. It is easier to just keep on moving.
I had a falling out with a good friend a little over a decade ago. And I just kept on moving. I had some nudges this past December that it was time to ‘fess up, own my part in the debacle, and take a step toward reconciliation, whatever that might look like. I sent him a note: “I’m sorry for hurting you and your family, and I ask you to forgive me.” Comfortable? No, not even a decade later. But good? Yes, not in a now-everything’s-all-tied-up-with-a-red-bow sorta way, but in the sense of a firm hope that a broken fence might just be mended, and who knows what God might do after that?
We’re pretty hard on old Jonah, probably because we see so much of ourselves in him. But I have to give him credit for owning up to his part in the trouble that fueled the storm that threatened not only his life but the lives of the sailors surrounding him. He stepped forward to say, “On account of me this great storm has come upon you.” And he gets even more credit for proposing a way to fix the problem – “Pick me up and throw me into the sea” (Jonah 1:12).
Comfortable? Not by a long shot. But good? Yes. The people of Nineveh needed to hear a message of salvation, and Jonah was the man appointed to deliver it.
I’ve always loved that God gave Jonah some rein in this story, the freedom to choose to confess, to grow up just a little more, and become the man God wanted him to be. Jonah’s confession, via a whale of a story, led to the rescue of many souls in Nineveh. And it also led to a rescue in Jonah’s life – he was saved from himself and his horribly narrow vision of the wonderfully wide mercies of God.
Take a look at your life. ‘Fess up where needed. It’s never easy, but it’s always good. Who knows what God will do then?
Written By John Blase